Halcyon Days For Dee Montero

Posted on March 21, 2018

Words: Iain Thomson

If you’ve visited San Antonio’s Sunset Strip in the last few years, chances are you will have enjoyed the booth skills of Dee Montero, one of the long standing residents of Café Mambo. More recently, Dee has left the cocoon that is an 8-hour daily set at one of the most recognisable sunset bars on the planet and thrown himself into the studio, with equal dedication and success. His ‘Halcyon’ track caught the attention of Diynamic head honcho Solomon and was released on the prestigious label, earning ‘Essential Tune of the Year’ from Pete Tong and capturing the attention of DJs and clubbers alike.

Dee Montero is acutely aware of how the club world works, so, having caught the attention, he has been locked in the studio working hard to build on such solid foundations. Years of playing in bars and clubs has given him a foot-on-the-ground philosophy so he’s not getting carried away by the fact that he has already signed tracks to Anjunadeep, Knee Deep In Sound and Lee Burridge’s Tale & Tone label, just in time for the new season. He continues to work hard, expand his knowledge of his craft and meet every opportunity head on. We caught up with Dee, on a rare moment out of the studio, to catch up and find out how the last few months have changed his musical journey…

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It’s fair to say you’ve served your time and learned your trade, from your early days in Belfast to making your way on the island and now, on the precipice of a global adventure. If you’re a talented DJ/ Producer, is it an easier journey nowadays from beginner to regular tour DJ to international gigging?
It’s easier for anyone to share and release music these days but if you’ve talent and making great music then it’s still important to be on the right labels to help build your professional career and brand. With so many channels now for emerging artists and with all the tools at everyone’s disposal it’s getting harder to stand out amongst the noise but I believe good music always comes out top in the end. It’s just up to labels to nurture their artists more instead of releasing one-off tracks here and there.

How important was Ibiza in your journey?
I don’t know where I’d be without Ibiza. It’s been a massive inspiration on all levels and has really shaped who I am so it’s not only been an important platform for my DJing but it’s had a huge impact on my life for the last 20 years. I just hope it doesn’t change completely with it’s over pricing and VIP culture.

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Having cited Pete Tong’s Essential Selection as a major influence on you as an early clubber and DJ; how did it feel to have Halcyon chosen as his Essential Tune Of The Year?
It felt like I really hit the highest peak of my career but it was very humbling at the same time as I know it’s just the start of an exciting time ahead as a DJ/producer. He’s still a major influence in the dance world and I have the utmost respect for him

How did the hook up with Diynamic come about for the original release?
I sent ‘Halcyon’ to Diynamic in November 2017 and got a response from Solomun directly saying he loved the track but he wanted to test it out during his South America tour so I held onto it for him. A few weeks later I signed the contract.

You’re no stranger to playing alongside some of the hottest DJs on the planet through your Café Mambo residency; what did that gig do for you as an artist and DJ?
It was like doing a degree in DJing! Playing 8 hour eclectic sets on a daily basis really expands your musical knowledge. Constantly discovering new music and learning from the greats like Frankie Knuckles and Laurent Garnier is a great way to hone your craft. Sunset is a very special time just before the guest comes down as you really get to play with people’s emotions, it’s quite similar to laying down a soundtrack to a scene of a movie. It’s a very prestigious residency to have and I’m very grateful to Javier and the Mambo Brothers for putting up with me for so long!

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Having captured the attention of clubbers all over the world with Halcyon, are you back in the studio?
Yes more so than ever. I’ve just released an ep on Anjunadeep called ‘In The Wild / Polaris’ which has also been getting strong support from Pete Tong and Danny Howard on Radio 1. I’ve also a few forthcoming eps on Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound and Lee’s Burridge’s Tale & Tone, just in time for the summer!

We heard rumours of an artist album?
I’ve probably an albums worth of unfinished music but I really don’t want to rush it so it’s looking more like next year by time that comes together.

What does your summer look like? Where can we catch you on the island?
Nothing set in stone as yet… Watch this space!

w: www.deemontero.com
fb: www.facebook.com/deemontero
t: twitter.com/deemontero
s: soundcloud.com/deemontero

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